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Everyday Atlanta

by Rita Harper about a month ago in art

"My love for the city UNSEEN"

Donny of my neighborhood in Atlanta,GA. Having lived in the neighborhood for years, he carries a wisdom and natural elegance about himself.

As a native of Atlanta,GA, I have spent the last 3 years using my photojournalism practice to highlight and celebrate the narratives of the everyday working class Black American in my hometown. The vainness of society has made us to believe that material assets, social status, and professions are the determinants of value. My work combats this by celebrating the everyday man on woman on their journey through the American system. This work is a celebration of the beautiful souls I’ve come across in my neighborhood who add value to this world simply by existing. The working class Black American is the fabric to the culture of Atlanta. These photographs serve as the liaison to showcase the natural elegance, grace, and cool that we naturally exude. And a love letter to my neighborhood.

My hometown of Atlanta has become Black Hollywood, but underneath the glitz and glam lie to the true aboriginals to the city that are slowly being pushed out due to gentrification. They are the true spirit of the neighborhood, but often overlooked.

When I think of my Atlanta neighborhood, I think of the old man in his chevy on the corner, the friendly smiles at the corner store, the strangers who become a part of our lives for those few minutes at the train station. You see the spirit of the neighborhood lies in the people, the resilience and determination to keep going, to keep pursuing their personal dreams and goals against all odds.

My hometown means black dreams, wants, and goals being fulfilled and actualized. It is the historical evidence of Black triumph and success.

Atlanta is known as the cradle of the civil rights movement, birthing prominent and legendary civil rights activists such as Martin Luther King Jr, John Lewis, and Andrew Young. That energy of hard work and resistance still lives in the streets of Atlanta, this epicenter of black business flourishes because of our ability to keep pushing forward despite society’s attempts to withhold us from our destiny.

It's in the people, the youth, the elderly, this is what my hometown means to me. It means to wake up everyday knowing that there is hope, because it sits on every corner, it lives in the independent black businesses established that future generations can look to for evidence of what not giving up manifests to.

Atlanta lives in the Southern love, young and old that can experience a Black love like no other in a city that is testament to what love can do, it can heal a nation.

My hometown has used its determination and unwavering faith in a fair future to save the American people from an unjust fate during presidential and senate elections. This work was done by the PEOPLE, by the everyday person that I aim to highlight that is often overlooked and unrecognized for their efforts, THEY SAVED US, the world. Black voters young and old came out to save a country has yet to make an attempt to save them in any way. THIS is what Atlanta is to me.

It is the realization that everything you need to succeed in this world is inside of you. The subjects I photograph have used their ancestral guidance to navigate this world in a way you only can being from this city. It gives you the confidence of knowing yourself, understanding your history, thus giving a better sense of where you can go and flourish, which is ANYWHERE.

They say home is where the heart is, and my heart lies with the people of my hometown. They are the true architects and have built this city and filled it with a love that knows no bounds.

I am thankful to be from a place that has instilled a confidence in myself that makes me comfortable to navigate this world with pride, knowing that I DESERVE to exist.

I owe it all to Atlanta, the home of the brave.

Donny and Jay of the Cleveland Avenue neighborhood in Atlanta,GA. They spend their days enjoying the simplicities of life. Good laughs and beer.

The American Tax. Young woman in my neighborhood of Atlanta, GA taking a break from her shift of promoting Midway Tax service.

Young boy posing on his tricycle in my neighborhood of Atlanta,GA.

Young girl riding the Marta Transit system in Atlanta,GA. Wearing braided beads which are considered a rights of passage for young African American girls.
A woman poses by Marta train station in Atlanta, GA.
Father and son I met in the Walmart parking lot in my neighborhood of Atlanta,GA.
Mother and Son I met in Walmart parking lot in my neighborhood in Atlanta,GA.
Mother and son that I met in the Walmart parking lot in my neighborhood of Atlanta,GA.

Postman on his everyday route in my community during the COVID 19 pandemic, where he found himself becoming an essential worker.

Fofana's Hair Braiding Shop in my neighborhood of Atlanta,GA. Having to make adjustments to their routine during COVID 19.

Bus Driver in my Atlanta neighborhood on her weekly route during the era of COVID.

Andrew Muchemi, owner of Southside Tires Atl in Atlanta, GA

Great Dane owner of Margie's Uniform boutique in Atlanta,GA. Dane inherited this store from his mother, where he sells nursing uniforms to the healthcare community of Atlanta.

Joyce and Denzel. A young couple I met in the Oakland City neighborhood of Atlanta,GA. The two had just crossed paths 40 minutes before me encountering them.

A man waiting outside the grocery store during the COVID 19 pandemic in Atlanta, GA.

A regal couple I met outside of the grocery store celebrating 50 years of marriage.

Grocery Store worker in my neighborhood relaxing on a quick break from the work day.

Rita Harper
Rita Harper
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Rita Harper
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